Body painting is a form of body art where artwork is painted directly onto the human skin. Unlike tattoos and other forms of body art, body painting is temporary, lasting several hours or sometimes up to a few weeks (in the case of mehndi or “henna tattoos” about two weeks). Body painting that is limited to the face is known as “face painting”. Body painting is also referred to as (a form of) “temporary tattoo”. Large scale or full-body painting is more commonly referred to as body painting, while smaller or more detailed work can sometimes be referred to as temporary tattoos.
Body painting festivals happen annually across the world, bringing together professional body painters and keen amateurs. Body painting can also be seen at some football matches, at rave parties, and at certain festivals. The World Bodypainting Festival is a three-day festival which originated in 1998 and which has been held in Klagenfurt, Austria since 2017. Participants attend from over fifty countries and the event has more than 20,000 visitors.
Body painting festivals that take place in North America include the North American Body Painting Championship, Face and Body Art International Convention in Orlando, Florida, Bodygras Body Painting Competition in Nanaimo, BC and the Face Painting and Body Art Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Australia also has a number of body painting festivals, most notably the annual Australian Body Art Festival in Eumundi, Queensland and the Australian Body Art Awards.
In Italy, the Rabarama Skin Art Festival (held every year during the Summer and Autumn, with a tour in the major Italian cities), is a different event focused on the artistic side of body painting, highlighting the emotional impact of the painted body in a live performance more than the decorative and technical aspects of it. This particular form of creative art is known as “Skin Art”.